5 questions you need to ask every potential CX delivery provider

From lowering the cost to serve to increasing customer lifetime value and boosting overall brand loyalty, outsourcing your customer experience delivery can bring sizable long-term benefits, but only if you know what to ask before choosing a customer experience provider.

People working in a contact center, helping customers

Published ·April 29, 2024

Reading time·4 min

What your customers expect from your brand has changed significantly in recent years. Today, it’s no longer sufficient to offer a competitive product or service. It’s about an overall perception of value and that value doesn’t derive solely from a price point.

The value lies in the overarching customer experience — the sum of interactions with your brand on the path to and the journey after purchase. And ultimately, the brands that can deliver the right customer experience consistently are the ones that typically lead their sectors.

Fortunately, CX outsourcing delivery capacities have kept pace with this change. With the right expert in your corner, you can connect with your customers through their channel of choice, whether they prefer to use the phone or speak exclusively with chatbots and use self-service to solve problems.

Likewise, thanks to breakthroughs in AI and analytics, you can get a granular understanding of individual customer behavior, create campaigns for a market of one, draw up personas that are so accurate you can predict potential spending and, crucially, the potential for a customer to switch from your brand to a competitor.

And you can do all of these things — and more — while lowering your overall cost of meeting customer expectations.

But there’s a catch. Although all customer experience providers can offer similar levels of technological capability, there’s no guarantee that all BPOs can genuinely align with your medium-to-long-term business needs. And as such there are five questions you need to ask any potential partner before making a choice.

1. Are you an expert?

Even if all the leading customer experience providers have similar capabilities, not all businesses within the industry will have the right experience in your particular vertical. If a potential provider has a proven track record of delivering for clients within your industry, you can have confidence that its best practices have been shaped by solving problems and developing solutions key to success.

However, even with direct experience, it can be beneficial to identify a partner that also has exposure to clients across multiple verticals as they can bring a different level of innovation to the table. An approach to CX that’s typical in another industry might be cutting-edge, or game-changing within your own vertical, for instance.

2. How flexible are you?

The right CX provider should be able to scale operations in line with your company’s growth aspirations without disrupting existing services. But more than that, a BPO should be able to ramp up and down in line with forecasted seasonal peaks or marketing drives and respond to unforeseen spikes in customer contacts.

This level of flexibility is only possible if the organization has a proven approach to identifying, recruiting and training the staff you need, at scale. Ideally, the partner should be able to draw from onshore, nearshore and offshore locations and have a supporting network of work from home talent on tap for meeting these fluctuations.

Aligned with flexibility and scalability is the ability to grow. As well as adding staff or CX services within an existing market, the right partner should be able to support you in new territories, new markets and new languages so that you can respond to new opportunities as they present themselves.

3. How secure is your business?

The interconnected nature of modern business means that a security breach anywhere along a supply chain or within a supporting ecosystem can have a material impact on your organization. The leading BPOs should be able to demonstrate an absolute best practice when it comes to physical security measures, but they also need to demonstrate a similarly leading approach to system and information security.

So, make sure that any potential partner complies with standards such as ISO 27001:2013 or the GDPR, and also make certain you do your homework. Check with independent security rating agencies and speak to existing clients (confidentially) about their experiences with the CX provider’s cybersecurity protocols.

4. How do you maintain quality?

To be considered a leading organization in the BPO space, a company will have to be able to deliver a level of service at or above the levels of quality you can currently manage with your in-house operations. But that should be the foundation for ongoing improvement and not the benchmark for future performance. So, ask about which metrics will be tracked and to what end, and examine how the customer experience provider typically assesses overall service levels and quality assurance.

The most effective means of monitoring all live interactions for legal compliance, training gaps and simply an independent measure of customer satisfaction is through the use of AI and analytics. The technology makes it possible to perform real-time analysis of all spoken or written conversations between CX delivery staff and customers and can score each interaction against your key performance indicators (KPIs).

5. Does your culture align with ours?

Cultural fit can seem abstract compared to other metrics for measuring performance or success, but a potential partner’s ability to absorb and reflect your values and embody your brand to the wider public is critical for success. As well as a unifying consistent message to your customers, cultural alignment simplifies communication between your organization and the CX provider, is a catalyst for building trust and can remove obstacles that could potentially hamper long-term performance.

Know what to look for in a customer experience provider

Outsourcing should eliminate unnecessary complexity and elevate your brand’s overall customer experience, without increasing the associated costs of doing business. However, unless you ask the right questions, you won’t be able to identify the right delivery partner or forge a mutually beneficial long-term relationship. Whether focused on increasing value or unlocking efficiencies to lower operating costs, your CX outsourcing provider should know how to manage contact center performance and the metrics that make a difference. Learn more in our ebook “Measure & manage contact center performance.”